Feeding and Breeding Tilapia Tanks at Taino Farm
The aquaponics system on Taino Farm has 10 main tanks, each tank separates our tilapia by gender and size. They live in male or female tanks to prevent overcrowding from excess breeding. This allows the fish to focus on growth. We periodically weigh the fish and divide them into their corresponding weight class. This reduces competition between the much larger and smaller fish, allowing each one a better chance to eat during feeding times. The expenditure in energy from mating and the discrepancy in bigger tilapia eating the majority of the food will decrease the average net size, which complicates selling the tilapia to customers who desire a consistent weight. Malnourished or underfed fish are not worth the hassle to cook with little meat to offer. Heavier tilapia are either kept for reproducing or sold to Taino Farm’s customers.
In contrast to the feeding tanks, the breeding tanks mix the two genders of fish and help create a steady stream of new fish as needed. These tanks have a floor covered in gravel. Males clear a large circle in this gravel, where the females can then lay their eggs. After the male has fertilized the eggs, the mother puts them in her mouth, swishing them around until the larvae break their shell. At Taino Farm, we transfer the eggs to an incubation tank that mimics the mother’s mouth. Here once they hatch, they receive a special diet that will maximize their growth. After a week, they are moved to a holding tank where they will continue to grow until they can be sexed and finally moved to a feeding tank. There, they will nourish the aquaponics system and repeat the cycle of reproduction or enter the market as food.